Facebook’s Gearing Up To Butt Heads With Apple Over iOS 14 Feature Via A Lawsuit

According to an article by The Information, Facebook is preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple regarding the iOS 14 Tracking and Transparency features.

The tense situation between Facebook and Apple has come to a head, as both companies refuse to cave to the other’s demands. Full disclosure before delving into the rest of the article: this author, for reasons which will be made clear down the line, actively believes Facebook to be in the wrong regarding this spat, and is appalled by the company’s actions. Having established this personal bias, accompanied with a promise to attempt practicing impartiality, let us begin.

Facebook’s issues with Apple began when the iPhone wizards unveiled their latest operating software, entitled iOS 14. Amongst a myriad of functional tweaks and upgrades, a new feature caught everyone’s attention. The App Tracking/Transparency tool, to be specific. In one swipe, Apple was giving its users complete autonomy in selecting what sort of information applications demanded from them and, accordingly, what sort of information they wanted to share. Neatly dividing harvested information into categories representing personal details, locations, etcetera, Apple’s massive community of users would have full control over their online persona, in a day and time ruled by online exchanges both social and monetary. This definitely seems like the right step for the company to take.

Facebook has, however, been of a separate mindset. Immediately after the announcement, the social network shot back, discussing the harmful repercussions such actions would have on much smaller, independent developers that relied on targeted advertisements to make revenue. Since user information siphoned for the purposes of these advertisements isn’t inherently personal or threatening, Facebook argued that allowing users such control would only serve to damage revenue streams for developers that need them. Apple itself had, in the meantime, given Devs on their Apple Store until 2021 to start working on their policies in order to share information about user data usage. While this author had promised to remain impartial in writing this, it should also be noted that Facebook’s targeted ad streams make up more than 80% of their revenue, as highlighted by a Q4 2020 finance report published by the company itself. This is further accentuated by the fact that large corporations such as Facebook are the reason targeted ads retain such online importance, forcing indie Devs to rely on them for monetization.

At any rate, at the end of the day neither company is willing to call it quits. Facebook has been particularly vehement in its opposition, taking out full-page ads in popular newspapers decrying Apple’s motivations. While the social media platform did briefly take a reprieve and email its businesses asking them to begrudgingly acquiesce with Apple’s policy remarks, it seems that ultimately Facebook ends to drag this quarrel to a bitter end. And hey, if anyone’s familiar with lawsuits, it’s the Social Network! Ask Eduardo Saverin or, more recently, the FTC.

Read next: Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple indirectly implied towards Facebook and called out it for misusing their users’ privacy and misleading them over important topics
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